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Did Not Get the Girl
aka: Did Not Get The Guy

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"Dammit... I had a hunch this would happen."

"I guess I'll never get to call you mine..."
Simple Plan, "When I'm With You"
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This trope is when The Protagonist — who is clearly not celibatedoesn't end up with the Love Interest. Someone else wins her heart or she has no choice but to marry someone to save her family or something. For whatever reason, the hero ends the story alone. It can be played either for comedy or tragedy. It isn't always a Downer Ending or a Bittersweet Ending, but it sure does tend to be that way.

Despite the name, this trope can just as easily apply to not getting the guy. Of course, the idea of a person being something to get, like she or he is a possession, can be troubling to ponder.

Related to No Romantic Resolution (the resolution here is: it didn't work out). Compare to Better as Friends and Romantic Runner-Up. Contrast Everything but the Girl, where the protagonist usually does get the girl eventually. Not to be confused with two leads not ending up together because one of them dies — that is a different trope, Death of the Hypotenuse when one of the leads is the hypotenuse of someone else, and Platonic Life-Partners where neither of them wanted each other in the first place. See also Dump Them All, where the protagonist rejects all of his Love Interests instead of them leaving him.

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As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is played straight in the third act of 5 Centimeters per Second, despite a good taunting/glimmer of hope thrown in for good measure at the end - which doesn't pan out.
  • Blade of the Immortal: Rin develops feelings for her bodyguard Manji, but he mostly sees her as a little sister, and the fact that he's immortal makes him reluctant to have a committed relationship with someone he'd inevitably outlive. The two part ways after Rin fulfills her quest for revenge, and the epilogue has Manji meeting Rin's great-granddaughter.
  • Blue Flag: The penultimate chapter reveals that the main couple of the manga, Kuze and Taichi, broke up two years after they got together and finished high school, in a mutual agreement. They have grown distant due to the awkwardness, though they still share a circle of friends, and Taichi is invited to Kuze's wedding to another man. Taichi himself eventually figures out he's attracted to both men and women, and starts a relationship with his male friend Touma, to whom he has since married.
  • Despite all their Unresolved Sexual Tension, the titular character of Canaan and her friend Maria never make the Relationship Upgrade. Their lives are too different and they go their separate ways.
  • The final chapter of Ciguatera reveals that protagonist Ogino eventually broke up with his hot girlfriend Nagumo, after realizing he has become dependent on her and lacks the maturity to give her a happy life. Nagumo is last shown 9 months pregnant and married to someone else, while Ogino got his act together and found a new love. It's probably for the best and they're both shown to be happy.
  • Code Geass had a field day with this trope:
    • Shirley died shortly after her Anguished Declaration of Love so she and Lelouch didn't end up together.
    • Season 2 also spent a lot of episodes teasing the sexual tension between Lelouch and Kallen. That also came to a halt when Lelouch willingly pushed her away so she wouldn't get involved in his final plan.
    • Finally, Lelouch also didn't end up with C.C. because of his own death. Suzaku also did not get Euphemia; although they were in a relationship briefly, Euphie gets shot by Zero/Lelouch after the SAZ Japan massacre. Given the subtext, Lelouch did not get Euphie either.
    • This also still happens in the movie series. Shirley doesn't end up with Lelouch under different circumstances, such as living to see him die as part of his Thanatos Gambit, and even after playing a part in bringing him Back from the Dead, he ultimately goes with C.C. It is implied he's just as sad as she probably is that things didn't turn out as she thought.
  • In Digimon Adventure the kids are really too young to be concerned with dating, but when Digimon Adventure 02 rolls around, Taichi/Tai does not end up with childhood friend Sora, as she instead hooks up with Yamato/Matt.
  • Fantastic Children fits this perfectly and it's even a large part of the plot. He seems to eventually accept to live with it. The guy she picks is a good guy and all, but it is still a bit of a downer.
  • Despite having three potential Love Interests, the main character of FLCL ends up with no one. It implies that he will end up with Ninamori but only after they're not kids anymore and are more mature. This is averted in the manga, where he ends up with Haruko but he has to chase after her.
  • The 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist ends this way (twice): in the TV ending, Ed is trapped in our world searching for a way to get back while Winry and Rose are left behind, and in The Movie Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa after finding a way back to Amestris and reuniting with Winry, he realizes that our world needs him more than Amestris and seizes his last chance to return and seals off the portal connecting the two worlds for good, leaving Winry behind yet again. The second anime unambiguously ends with Ed and Winry together.
  • In The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Makoto doesn't get together with Chiaki, which is especially egregious considering he asked her first and through how much trouble and grief she went through to make it happen. Although it is indicated that they plan to meet again in his time:
    Chiaki: I'll be waiting in the future.
    Makoto: I'll be right there. I'll run there.
  • Punpun spends the entirety of Goodnight Punpun pining after his first love, Aiko. They eventually meet again and begin dating in his twenties, however their relationship is unhealthy and the circumstances aren't perfect. For one, they're on the run from the police for killing Aiko's mother. It ultimately ends very poorly as Aiko ends up killing herself. Punpun tries to too but survives, though he loses an eye.
  • The infamous ending to The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach! has the revelation that Princess Peach was already engaged to a prince named Haru, which upsets Mario but he wishes her good luck regardless. Needless to say, said prince was never featured in any Super Mario Bros. media again.
  • In Jewelpet Sunshine, the protagonist Kanon dates her crush Mikage for several episodes. Then comes The Reveal that they're siblings, and Kanon has to forcibly give him up, without a consolation prize.
  • Kikaider, is more a case of someone breaking speeching him into walking out on the girl.
  • Lupin III: Lupin's success with the ladies tends to be hit-or-miss. Such as:
    • In Island of Assassins, he tried hitting on Ellen, though it was mainly just fun 'n games for him, until he learned how she became part of the Tarantulas. She was initially put off by his attempts to flirt with her because she didn't trust him. By the end of the film, her opinion of him had changed, but only so far as thanking him for giving her a brief moment of freedom. Said with her dying breath.
    • The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure: From the moment he first sees her, Lupin does his damnedest to woo Sir Archer's granddaughter, Diana. She repeatedly blows off his advances throughout the film; including belting him several times for emphasis. By the end, she agrees to have dinner with him but makes it clear that THAT's as far as it goes.
  • Gender-inverted examples are common in the Macross series:
    • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: At the end of the series, Hikaru Ichijo picks Misa Hayase instead of Lynn Minmay. However, Minmay becomes the couple's friend and joins them in the SDF-2 Megaroad-01.
    • A similar fate happens to Ranka Lee in the second Movie of Macross Frontier, where Alto Saotome declares that he loves Sheryl Nome, but Ranka believes that one day Alto will come back and Sheryl will be awake from the coma. Since the movie is an Alternate Continuity, this is averted in the TV series.
  • Maken-ki!: By the final chapter (124), Kai is no closer to hooking up with the Amazonian redhead, Azuki. Usui doesn't fare any better in his romantic pursuit of Himegami, who still only regards him as one of her friends.
  • No. 6: Shion did not get the guy or girl: Not only does Nezumi leave him behind when they're done, but Safu, his Het Option, would Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. However, there might be hope because Shion promises that he'll meet Nezumi again at the end of the anime and novels.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: According to most anime conventions, Shu should deserve to live happily with Lala Ru after all the suffering both have been through together. Nope. Lala Ru dies, and any chances of Shu getting together with her Earth Expy Sarah are effectively dashed when he returns to his world without her. However, the audience knows from watching his character throughout the story that he'll be able to live happily anyway.
  • Played with Onani Master Kurosawa. Kurosawa starts an unholy alliance with Kitahara, who later starts blackmailing him. It's the perfect set-up for an eventual love story, right? Guess again; Neither Kitahara nor Kurosawa seem particularly interested in each other, aside from their common goals. In fact, Kurosawa is in love with cute, bookish Takagawa during most of the manga. At first she seems to have an interest in him, but eventually she starts dating Nagaoka, afro-otaku extraordinaire. That can't last, right? She's the princess of the High School and he's a clown. Wrong. Kurosawa gets over Takagawa, who seems quite happy with Nagaoka, and ends up dating Sugawa, the yankee that beat his ass because he came over her uniform to avenge Kitahara.
  • A running gag for Sanji in One Piece. For a womanizer, no single woman is ever seen falling for him.
    • Sanji does eventually get a requited love in Charlotte Pudding, but circumstances and conflicting loyalties drive them apart.
    • Zoro and deceased friend Kuina are a possible example. Life was unkind to the guy.
  • Patlabor: No matter the continuity, Gotoh never ends up with his fellow captain, Shinobu. Throughout the OVA continuity, she maintains a strictly working-class relationship between them. In the end, not only does he not get the girl, he finds out she once had an affair with her instructor, while she was a cadet at the Tsuge Institute. Worse, the second Movie concludes with her turning herself in with Tsuge, because she still had feelings for him. Gotoh doesn't end up with her in The Mobile Police/New Files continuity either, but they at least soften the blow a bit with the Ingram-Man episode, which ends with Shinobu confessing her feelings for him. Except it was All Just a Dream.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Steven teases Wallace, knowing that the real reason that the Water-type trainer stepped down from being the Champion to become a Gym Leader was for an excuse to spend more time with Winona. Too bad that is one of the reasons that is implied why they broke up. (The main reason was that Winona felt uncomfortable having someone stronger than her for a boyfriend.)
  • Meowth in the Pokémon: The Original Series episode "Go West, Young Meowth", who tries to help his love interest who spurned him in the past. He defeats his long-hated rival Persian but the girl Meowth chooses the Persian over him anyway.
  • In Princess Tutu, Ahiru does not get together with Mytho, but gets to stay with Fakir as a duck.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka ends up losing Kyousuke to Hitomi. This does not end well. Later, Homura does not get Madoka. This does not end well either.
  • The anime version of Revolutionary Girl Utena: Touga tries to win over Utena because she's the only girl at their school who doesn't immediately fall for him - in fact, she rebuffs him many times, and they ultimately don't end up together, with Utena being lost in another dimension and all. There's also the movie, Adolescence of Utena, where Touga is already dead from the beginning.
  • School Rumble. Tenma is the lead female. Kenji is the lead male. Tenma never returns Kenji's feelings; she doesn't even know about them. Not that it would really make a difference since she's too much in love with the second male lead. Tenma ends up with the amnesiac, brain-damaged Karasuma. It's strongly suggested Harima ended up with Eri. The one who did not get the girl actually didn't get the guy: Yakumo. She's the only main character who definitely didn't get anyone.
  • In the Slayers Light Novel series, the bounty hunter Luke constantly tries to win the affections of his perpetually grumpy partner Millina, all to no avail. This ultimately comes to a climax in the fourteenth novel when Millina is stabbed with a poisoned knife and denied any medical care. She more or less tells him off, telling him to keep on living and don't bother worrying about her.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Kamina dies shortly after he and Yoko admit their feelings towards each other.
    • Kittan goes into a suicide mission after kissing Yoko (which cemented her status as the person with "the kiss of death" in the fandom) and it seems she reciprocated his feelings, as in her personal Lotus-Eater Machine one of her alternate/happier lives has her marrying him.
    • Simon and Nia get married, but immediately afterward, she fades away due to an earlier Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne:
    • The heroine, Hitomi, chooses to go back to Earth while Van stays behind in Gaia to help his world heal from the war it just endured. Despite the show being dramatically cut down from its planned run, that was the intended ending all along. That said, she does still have to ability to teleport instantly to his realm.
    • No member of the show's Love Dodecahedron ends up with his/her love interest - Merle resigns to being an Unlucky Childhood Friend, Millerna and Dryden's Arranged Marriage is called off (although he still hopes to be worthy of her someday ), and Allen, who already lost the girl in the past to an Arranged Marriage and death, loses Hitomi to Van (but does find his sister, which is probably what he wanted more than romance at that point).
  • Inevitable in nearly all installments of Weiß Kreuz due to the protagonists being Doom Magnets - the few potential love interests who don't end up dead get the It's Not You, It's My Enemies treatment. The only exception here is Farfarello, who leaves with his love interest at the end of the Schwarz audio drama to lead a happy, kill-free life.
  • Welcome to the N.H.K.: though they stay friends. At least in most versions. The anime and novel both end fairly ambiguously, but the manga has Satou promise to rekindle their relationship after he cleans up.
  • The manga ending for ×××HOLiC follows much in the same vein. Set in a Distant Finale 100 years in the future where Watanuki has lost both Himawari and Doumeki to them dying of old age. Made even sadder by the fact that after Tsubasa ended Watanuki couldn't leave his Inn Between the Worlds and that its very nature was harmful to Himawari making her only able to see him once a year, and she eventually moved on with her life. He comes to accept it though, congratulating her on her marriage.
  • Hazuki from Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito never gets her girl Hatsumi, at least in the anime, despite her valiant efforts of chasing her through several alternate dimensions. It is heavily implied that Hatsumi grants Hazuki one night with her but then erases her memory afterward, which caused quite a bit of outrage among yuri fans.
  • Your Lie in April ends with Kousei and Kaori not ending up together. Kaori did love him but he didn't learn this until he read her posthumous letter.
  • Played with in Yuri!!! on Ice: Yuko seems this way when Yuri first meets her again, after going back to his hometown in Kyushu. He reminisces on their time growing up and learning to skate together, and comments "she's still cute," only for the viewer to learn, moments later, that she's now married with triplets ...to a guy who used to bully Yuri, no less. But of course, Yuri's not exactly straight, and we haven't met a certain manic pixie Russian figure skater just yet...

    Comic Books 
  • Crimson: Alex Elder. First, his girlfriend is murdered by the vampire gang that turned him and her death continues to haunt him for many issues. Then, he meets two other girls that fall in love with him separately, and, to some extent, he returns their feelings. When it appears he's finally made up his mind, the girl he chooses performs a heroic sacrifice to save him, and the other one joins a convent, leaving him alone at the end (although it's implied he plans on reuniting with the other girl in the epilogue).
  • In Drama (Raina Telgemeier), Callie is attracted to twin brothers Justin and Jesse but ends up with neither of them because Justin turns out to be gay and Jesse also turns out to be gay. There's a third boy who expresses interest in Callie, but she turns him down and is still single at book's end.
  • Empire State: Jimmy screws up the courage to confess his feelings for Sara, only to discover that she's found a boyfriend since she moved away. She does let Jimmy kiss her, which is implied to be more out of pity than romantic attraction ("Listen, kiddo, that's just to get you through the next year or two."); if you tilt your head and squint, you could interpret it as a Maybe Ever After ending.
  • Family: Kurt begins a relationship with Talia, but he refuses to save her criminal father Gio when he suffers a heart attack. It's implied they break up over this.
  • Dave Lizewski in Kick-Ass has an encounter with this trope. After months of pretending to be her gay best friend, Dave finally bares his soul to Katie Deuxma. Expecting her to reciprocate his feelings, Katie instead gets her boyfriend Carl to beat the crap out of him and later sends him a pornographic picture of herself with said boyfriend, which Dave later uses.
  • King City: Joe and Anna broke up a couple years before the comic starts, and Anna has a new boyfriend. Joe, back in the city after being gone for those couple years, spends a fair amount of time moping over her, leading the reader to believe he'll try to win her back. But in the end, after helping Anna rescue Max, Joe accepts that she's not his girl anymore. It looks like they'll remain friends.
  • Les Aigles de Rome: Marcus survives the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and his romantic rival Lepidus is taken out, but Priscilla is raped and decapitated while his son Titus is enslaved by the Germans.
  • Played with in a very gruesome way in Les Légendaires during the Anathos Cycle. As the protagonists prepare to fight the God of Evil Anathos, Danael, feeling tired with everything that happened so far, eventually fully confess his feeling to Jadina once and for all, and proposes to her after the fight. She agrees and they share a kiss... then after the fight, Anathos ends up taking over Danael's body. When the heroes finally defeat Anathos at the end of the Cycle, Jadina is forced to stab Danael in order to succeed. Though he's then resurrected, he has left the group and is convinced to leave the past behind him, while Jadina replaces him as The Hero.
  • Raptors: Benito Spiaggi is really in love with his partner Vicky Lenore to the point he is willing to do really crazy things like striking a deal with the villains to spare her life, and he is ready to die if it means she will be safe. Both of them survive by the end of the comic, but they don't get together since Vicky wanders the night hunting vampires as a new Raptor. Aznar is also hit with this trope, since not only he kills his girlfriend by accident during sex when his vampire side awakens and he drains her dry, but he has a brief fling with Vicky yet doesn't end the story with her too since they part ways.
  • The Smurfs: In The Olympic Smurfs, for all the troubles Weakling Smurf went through, he winds up not getting Smurfette (or at least, not getting a kiss from Smurfette) by the story's end.
  • As a young man, Superman never married his college love Lori Lemaris, who turned down his proposal and finally married someone else. Of course, Supes eventually fell in love with Lois Lane and even managed to stay friends with Lori, so it all worked out okay.
  • In the Uncle Scrooge comics, one of the most attractive things for shippers about Scrooge and Goldie is that they only spent that one month together and then, driven apart by their pride, went their separate ways, never to see each other again for fifty-some years. Don Rosa was strongly tempted to write more meetings between them when he took over the Scrooge McDuck Universe but resisted the temptation to ruin the tragic romanticism of this trope.
  • Yorick in Y: The Last Man, in two different ways. First, he discovers that his girlfriend Beth, who he has been right around the world to find again, was planning to break up with him (and even the death of all other men doesn't help). But he realized that he'd fallen in love with his bodyguard, Agent 355, and the feeling is mutual...until she's shot by a sniper. Regardless, Beth ends up with Yorrick's sister, Hero. So, you might say that Hero gets the girl, even if "the hero" doesn't.
    • Yorick himself winds up marrying a minor love interest (who became pregnant with his child early on), and in the Distant Finale, the daughter explains that they had a troubled relationship because Yorick never stopped carrying a torch for Agent 355. In this time period, however, the popular belief is that Yorick and Beth found each other, and true love conquered all. Yorick's daughter mocks the embellishment.

    Fan Works 
  • Spike in Beneath Your Feet What Treasures; the story is about him dealing with his feelings towards Rarity via his treasure hoard, along with his knowledge that he will never get the girl.
  • L in A Charmed Life. Though he has captured Misa at the end of the story and confined her to his bondage dungeon he would have much rather have had Light.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: As seen in chapter 11 of the third story, Diplomacy Through Schooling. After all that ship tease between Moondancer and Twilight, and just as Twilight has decided to talk to Moondancer about taking a step forward in their relationship, Moondancer admits to Twilight that she's fallen for Trixie. The next story subverts it though when the trio talk things over, and decide to be a romantic trio.
  • In Featherfall Rainbow and Gilda have a What Could Have Been argument that ends with Rainbow revealing her feelings for Gilda in the worst way possible: forcefully kissing her when she knows Gilda is with Sunset.
  • Deconstructed in Girls Like Us. Barry repeats Oliver's comment about how "Guys like us don't get the girl" to Laurel. This is her Rage-Breaking Point, and she spells out for him (and Oliver) that it isn't the vigilante lifestyle that will lead to them being alone, but the fact that they don't trust or respect "the girl". Oliver and Barry are both left shaken by it.
  • In The Masks We Wear, Zuko loses his affection for Mai as a result of his increasing similarity to his sister.
  • In New Hope University: Major In Murder, Saya Wild, the Ultimate Chess Grandmaster and the protagonist, appears to have feelings for Lucina Sorenson, the Ultimate Conductor. After the third trial, Saya rejects a kiss from Lucina, and shortly thereafter, finds out that Lucina has hooked up with Katy Thorson, the Ultimate Lesbian Romance Author. In the fifth trial, in which Lucina and Katy are the primary suspects, Saya deduces that Lucina is the culprit, resulting in Lucina's execution. In an alternative outcome to the fifth trial, Saya would have led the others to convict Katy instead. According to the author, Lucina would have become angry with the other survivors, only keeping in touch with Rocky after the killing games, but might have reconciled with the others later. Either way, Saya never had a chance of getting together with Lucina.
  • In The RWBY Loops, Sun Wukong joins the looping crew only to find that Blake Belladonna, the girl he was crushing on, has been dating Yang Xiao Long for quite some time and the two are, in fact, recently engaged. Unusually for this trope, everyone is aware of the situation and somewhat sympathetic, attempting to help him move on.
  • In Shatterheart Fai had been struggling with his eventual betrayal of the group and the exhausting effects of lying to everyone. By the time he comes to terms with his love for Kurogane, he can't do anything about it as Kurogane has already gotten together with Syaoran and he has to watch them became lovers.
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    Films — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is featured as the image of this page. Unlike most of the lead males of the Disney Renaissance, Quasimodo doesn't end up with the woman he falls in love with. Namely, Esmeralda never learns of his feelings and falls for Phoebus, though Quasimodo chooses to accept that she loves him without issue. He eventually gets together with another woman in the sequel, though.
    • At the end of Disney's Pocahontas, John Smith, severely injured, returns to Europe and leaves Pocahontas behind. As well as Smith being saved by Pocahontas, this is one of the only historically based moments in the entire movie and one of Disney's few Bittersweet Endings. Exacerbated in the sequel, where Pocahontas actually ends up with a different guy, the one she married in real life.
    • That poor squirrel lady from Disney's The Sword in the Stone. She falls in love with Wart while he's a squirrel, but once he turns human, she's heartbroken.
  • In Corpse Bride, Emily gives up her chance to marry Victor so that he can marry Victoria instead.
  • According to Disney's Melody Time, this is actually the main reason why coyotes always howl at the Moon.
  • In Rankin Bass Jack Frost, the titular sprite is Invisible to Normals, but hears a beautiful girl named Elisa say that she's "in love with Jack Frost." Taking her at her word, he becomes human, but will only stay that way if she marries him by the beginning of spring. While she and "Jack Snip" become close, he learns right before the deadline that she's fallen in love with her New Old Flame, Sir Ravenal. He turns back into a sprite just as the pair are Happily Married.
  • Shua in Sky Blue manages to bring down Ecoban, but thanks to Locke, it's almost certain Jay will die.
  • Toy Story 3: Although Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, and to a much lesser extent, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and Barbie and Ken, are now finally united with each other, Woody and Bo Peep aren't... at least until Toy Story 4. (At the very beginning of the film, Bo Peep was seen only in a flashback, and when Woody lists Wheezy, RC, and the other toys that were sold before the film, Rex sheepishly adds Bo-Peep to the list; Woody is notably sad because of this.)

    Gamebooks 
  • In Douglas Hill's Have Your Own Extra-Terrestrial Adventure, several of the paths have the Hardboiled Detective protagonist team up with beautiful Action Girl Mala, but in each one, they go their separate ways at the end, much to his disappointment.

    Literature 
  • Adrian Mole never manages to get his most constant love interest, Pandora Braithwaite, back after the final end of their on-off (and unconsummated) relationship in their early teens. Every time he falls in love with another woman, the relationship ends disastrously, leaving him with two failed marriages behind him. However, the most recent book ends on a cliffhanger with Pandora unexpectedly arriving at his home suggesting a possibility of them finally averting this result, but the death of the author means we'll never know.
  • In the Albert Campion story Mystery Mile, Campion admires Biddy Paget and is upset when she chooses Marlowe Lobbett instead.
  • Most of Jeremy's actions in Be More Chill, up to and including getting a SQUIP in the first place, are intended to help him get with Christine. After the incident at the school play, they end the story on a negative note, and it's left ambiguous if Jeremy's explanation will help them reconcile.
  • Book of the New Sun: Severian's first love, Thecla ends up killing herself to avoid the torture and his amnesiac second love, Dorcas leaves him when she finds out that she is his grandmother. It should be noted that although Thecla dies, Severian's persona is merged with hers through a sort of cannibalistic Eucharist.
  • Charles Dickens gives this fate to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol; although he was deeply in love with Belle, his pursuit of fortune eventually drove her to break off their engagement. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him what she's doing now - she married someone else and is the matriarch of a loving family, and Scrooge is devastated to think that he could have had this with her if he'd been less materialistic.
  • Clockpunk and the Vitalizer: Clockpunk doesn't get with the Vitalizer. It's probably for the best since she's a superhero and he a supervillain. He shows her some respect before fleeing, however.
  • Daisy Miller is not a sad book because the girl dies, but because the guy doesn't realize her worth while she's alive.
  • In the Deptford Mice trilogy by Robin Jarvis, Piccadilly is in love with Audrey, despite wrongly believing that she hates him. In reality, she loves him just as much as he loves her. After she unintentionally insults Piccadilly and he returns to his home in the city, Audrey visits her friend Twit's field, Fennywolde. While there, she ends up falsely accused of being a witch and sentenced to hang. According to the Gallows Law, if a willing spouse can be found, then the accused will be reprieved. Twit offers to marry Audrey, and she accepts because it's the only way she can be saved. However, she regrets her decision because she cannot pursue a romantic relationship with Piccadilly. He is killed without knowing of her love for him, but she does confess her feelings to his ghost and they kiss before he crosses over to the other side.
  • Kelson falls deeply in love with Rothana Nur Hallaj, a Deryni princess who is a novice at a convent called St. Brigid's (which is sacked by Ithel of Meara's forces in The King's Justice). They make tentative plans to wed (she writes to Archbishop Cardiel to have her temporary vows set aside) before he leaves on his quest for Camber relics, but when he and Dhugal are thought to be dead, she is persuaded to marry Kelson's cousin Conall instead. Not only does Kelson return to find her married to Conall and carrying his son, Conall's actions leave Rothana somewhat tainted by association. Though Kelson is quite willing to marry her after Conall's execution, she refuses him and plays matchmaker for Kelson and his distant cousin Araxie Haldane.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • In Sourcery; Rincewind meets Conina, daughter of Conan the Barbarian, and while in Al Khali searching for the Arch-Chancellor's hat, begins to develop a crush on her. Later, he meets wannabe barbarian Nijel who ends up falling for Conina and vice versa.
    • Pyramids (see also: Star Wars.)
    • Interesting Times
    • Not Guards! Guards!, despite Vimes' tendency to quote Casablanca (see).
    • In his non-Discworld novel Nation, Mau and Daphne do not end up together due to their duties and obligations to their respective cultures, though it's implied they are reincarnated as paired dolphins after their deaths.
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden. He's had four Love Interests in 14 books, and it hasn't worked out with any of them. Jim Butcher has even stated that he has no idea who Harry ends up with. In order:
    • Elaine (who shows up later in the books than Susan, but whom Harry has known longer): She and Harry fall in love when they teenagers both apprenticed to a dark wizard; when Harry turns against the dark wizard, Elaine betrays and nearly kills him (we later find out she was under a geas); and now they've run into each other occasionally but are in no kind of relationship.
    • Susan Rodriguez was the steadiest girlfriend he had, and they were genuinely in love. Literally; Susan's love for Harry protects him from the White Court. Unfortunately, bad decisions on both their parts ended with Susan becoming a half-vampire and forced to go on the run for the rest of her life, though not without carrying Harry's child. In the end, Harry ends up killing her to trigger a bloodline curse that kills all of the Red Court vampires in the world. Ouch...
    " And I...
    I used the knife.
    • Shiela, a girl working at an occult bookstore with perfect memory recall, seems like a good possibility in Dead Beat. Turns out she's just a psychic projection/mental clone created by the Fallen Angel residing in Harry's head. He does actually manage to redeem the demonic entity, right before she kills herself to save his life. Although Word of God is that Lash showed up in Ghost Story... somewhere, as did Lasciel.
    • Anastasia Luccio, fellow wizard born three centuries ago, who got dumped in a pretty young girl's body via magic and developed a budding relationship with Harry. Turns out she was mind-controlled by an agent of the Black Council into being attracted to Harry to keep tabs on him. That...really puts a downer on that romance.
    • Karrin Murphy, who Harry has the most ongoing chemistry with. They planned to take the "unresolved" out of their Unresolved Sexual Tension at the end of Changes, but then Harry catches a bad case of sniper. In Cold Days, Karrin and Harry finally have The Big Damn Kiss, but she has very good reasons to hesitate, such as Harry gets a hard-on during the Big Damn Battle, thanks to the Winter Knight's Mantle and a potential match for Harry in Molly who is now the Winter Lady after Maeve's death. Karen's own emotional baggage, and personal issues, also play a big part in her decision.
    You may be the master of disaster, but I've been the one to steer relationships into icebergs.
    • Harry does agree with her that they both need more time to get their heads together, but that once they do, "we set sail for the fucking iceberg, full speed ahead" Karren agrees. At the end of Skin Game, they eventually decide to just go for it after realizing that the "right time" will never come and they might as well take the opportunity while they have it, possibly averting this trope.
    • Harry did manage to bed Mab, the Winter Queen of Faerie, Queen of Air and Darkness. But nothing good is coming out of that.
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann:
    • In The Artushof Traugott makes this a habit. He does not get Christina (the girl he was engaged to) because he wants Felizitas. He quests for her after her father kicks him out of the house, and manages to attract Dorina, the daughter of another painter he stays with, but when he won't marry her, he gets kicked out. When he gets home after not getting two girls he finds out Felizitas got married to another man. Three strikes and you're out.
    • In The Entail Theodore devotes all his time in Castle R into trying to get with Baroness Seraphine but when he ends up having to leave when he returns, he hears she died in a sleigh crash.
    • In The Sandman (1816) Nathaniel doesn't end up with his childhood sweetheart Clara nor the other girl who he fell for that happened to be a robot. Oops.
  • Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy is possibly one of the most depressing examples. Remedied at the end of the Tawny Man trilogy, in which Fitz Chivalry finally does get the girl he had wanted to be with the entire time after her husband dies, something like thirty or forty years later. A clear case of Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Both of the books in Marti Steussy's "First-In" duology have bittersweet gender-flipped examples. In Forest of the Night, Gaylord Hess spurs the conflict between humanity and the Lodgeless Ones; by the time he gets a clue, his agitation has caused several deaths on each side and it's clear that he's never going to fully appreciate or understand Hashti's position. In Dreams of Dawn, Aage is simply too reluctant to compromise on the dilemma regarding the world's Mirror Chemistry, leading Disa to ultimately distance herself from him. Forest leaves Gaylord's and Hashti's romantic futures ambiguous; the Distant Finale of Dreams gives both Disa and Aage Second Loves: another young First-In member for Disa, and the sweet local girl Gretchen for Aaage.
  • The First Law:
    • Played straight with Logen/Ferro and Jezal/Ardee, making two heroes who did not get the girl...but, at Jezal's expense, deliciously subverts it with Glokta, Hero #3... depending, of course, on how you define "hero". He and Ardee marry, in no small part to save her from the consequences of Jezal's bad judgement, and end up in a stable, affectionate relationship.
    • Gorst in one of the sequels, whose love interest doesn't even notice his Anguished Declaration of Love, and is Happily Married anyway.
  • Actually lampshaded at the end of the Forgotten Realms novel, Escape From Undermountain as the protagonist Artek expresses his disbelief over not getting the girl and her declaring 'not in this story'.
  • Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. Arkady Renko tells damaged love interest Irina Asanova to stay in America while he'll return to Cold War era Russia. It was her dream to escape the Soviet Union, and Renko doesn't find America to be any better than the USSR.
  • Despite all of the eponymous character's attempts to win the girl in The Great Gatsby, she stays with her husband. Gatsby takes a lie for her that gets him killed.
  • Severus Snape did not get the girl, the girl being Lily Potter nee Evans, before the events of the Harry Potter series, as revealed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • His Dark Materials: Will and Lyra. While they do share a mutual attraction to each other and eventually spend some romantic time together, it can't last since the laws of the multiverse decree that they live in their separate universes and try to make the world a better place individually. Whether this is a lame ending or a Tear Jerker depends on the reader.
  • Hollow Places features a variation of this trope. Austin does end up with Isabella, but by then she's so different from the woman he fell in love with, she could hardly be called the same person.
  • Eragon from the Inheritance Cycle. Never mind that Arya got a dragon, and her dragon and Saphira immediately shacked up, so both she and Eragon had a mental link to sex... except Eragon has spent a long time learning to control the link, and she hasn't. The girl he's been drooling over for the better part of four books and a year or two, they're both horny beyond their control, alone, and... they sit and chat. If Forever Alone has a patron saint, it's this guy.
  • Occasionally happens in the Jack Reacher novels. Die Trying is an example; while Reacher and the female lead have a mutual attraction and once engage in Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex, she is in love with someone else and moves in with (and possibly marries) him at the end of the novel.
  • Happens in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels more regularly than the films would have you believe. (In the very first novel, the love interest commits suicide, in Moonraker she's engaged to another man, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service his wife is murdered at the end, and in From Russia with Love Bond is poisoned before any consummation can occur).
  • Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Subverted in that he does get a girl, but she's not the main romantic lead and she's a complete harpy. Played straight in that Sue decides to go back to Philloston after the big tragedy.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" does not get her Prince, though in every way she deserves it. Here, too, the film adaptation changed this (and even added a sequel about the daughter born to the marriage which did not happen in the original...) The princess in another one of his fairy tales, "The Swineherd", does not get the prince because she cares more about the musical toy that he created than she does about him. Unlike the little mermaid, this princess does not deserve the prince at all - she's too materialistic to love him for who he is.
  • Little Women: The One Guy Laurie does not get the member of the starring Four-Girl Ensemble he originally wanted, who is also the one both the original and the modern fanbase wanted him to get. It's not like there isn't a Fritz/Jo fandom or their Umbrella of Togetherness scene isn't the very essence of sweet and romantic. Laurie/Amy, on the other hand...
  • Circe and Calypso in The Odyssey - both fall in love with Odysseus and want to keep him on their islands, but due to divine intervention (Hermes usually is involved) they have to let him go eventually. Calypso even lampshades it, complaining that goddesses are always quickly separated from their mortal lovers, usually by a god killing them.
  • Freida in Only Ever Yours doesn't get her love interest Darwin, when she tries too hard to convince him to choose her as his companion (strictly forbidden under the dystopian society in which they live) and is disqualified from the Ceremony, forced to become a chastity. He instead chooses and marries her enemy Megan.
  • The ending of the classic Robert Munsch children's tale The Paper Bag Princess has the eponymous heroine not getting the prince because she looks too unkempt. She therefore decides that the prince isn't good for her if he won't accept the way she looks, and calls him a bum. The last line of it is "They didn't get married after all." In the short animated adaption of this story, she hooks up with the dragon instead. Dead serious.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Pacific Edge. Kevin Claiborne does not get Ramona; instead, she goes back to her Jerkass boyfriend, Alfredo.
  • Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda. The girl is expected to marry the actual king instead of his decoy double (with whom she's fallen in love).
  • The Reynard Cycle: Reynard the Fox ends heavily on this note, and it gets worse with every new installment.
  • In Rogue Star, Andy Quamodian spends most of the book trying to rescue Molly Zaldiver who he's always been in love with, but in the end, the only way she can survive is to merge with the living star Almalik.
  • A Foregone Conclusion of Saving Charlie, as anyone who's seen the episodes of Heroes that it's based upon knows that Hiro doesn't manage to save Charlie (though he does "get" the girl, she ends up dead immediately after and has convinced him that it's in the best interest of the world not to alter the timeline just to save her).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: If one goes with the theory that Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish is what would happen if a stereotypical fantasy hero was plonked into a Crapsack World, then this is the reason why he's so screwed up and why Westeros is now even more of a Crapsack World.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Starfog", Laure does not get Graydal. The Jaccavrie AI explains it's impossible: they aren't interfertile, and her kind have developed a compulsive need to reproduce.

  • Tailchaser's Song: Tailchaser starts the book looking for Hushpad but gets sidetracked with more dire issues along the way. He finally finds her, but they've grown apart. Hushpad is fine being an inside cat, living amongst Big Ones, and sleeping all day, while Tailchaser desires adventure and can't handle being smothered by humans. Tailchaser wants kittens but Hushpad doesn't (plus, it's heavily implied she's spayed). Eventually this gets to be too much and Tailchaser leaves Hushpad and her owners.
  • In Poul Anderson's Technic History story "The Star Plunderer" the narrator was captured with his girlfriend. Through a revolt, they become involved in the founding of the Empire— and she becomes the empress, leaving him behind.
  • Isaac Asimov's "True Love": The surprising Plot Twist at the end has Milton end up going to jail while Joe gets the girl.
  • Adam and Nina's repeated failures to get married drive much of the plot of Vile Bodies. She eventually gives up on their engagement and marries Ginger because he has money. Nina continues to sleep with Adam occasionally afterwards and may even be pregnant by him at the end, but is clearly not interested in leaving Ginger and appears oblivious to how Adam might feel about it. Like everything else in the novel, this situation is played for black comedy.
  • Exaggerated Trope in Vita Nuova; our hero can't even manage to get his crush to say hello to him, much less love him back.
  • In the children's book The Wainscott Weasel, the title weasel does not get his love interest (a striped bass named Bridget) due to the humans cutting out the pond.
  • Warrior Cats: Ashfur did not get Squirrelflight, Thrushpelt did not get Bluestar, and several notable genderbent examples include Cinderpelt and Firestar, Spottedleaf and Firestar, Mapleshade and Appledusk, Feathertail and Crowfeather, and Leopardstar did not get Tigerstar.
  • In Wuthering Heights Heathcliff does not get Catherine. In fact, he marries her sister-in-law Isabella.
  • Dean Koontz's novel Your Heart Belongs to Me ends like this, which is something of a break in formula for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Throughout the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there is considerable Ship Tease between Ward and Skye. Then she learns that he's The Mole and rejects him. Her second love interest, Lincoln, performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world.
  • A.N.T. Farm: Chyna showed signs of this a la Ranka Lee at the near end of the episode MeANT To Be?, which implied that she wished she wanted to get a chance of fully loving Fletcher. More worse considering it's the 2nd to last episode, but luckily averted in the finale where Fletcher and Olive (her friend) broke up as well as Fletcher stays in New York, but even then, Chyna still never gets a chance to love Fletcher.
  • Lee "Apollo" Adama on the new Battlestar Galactica is practically the patron saint of this trope. He blows it with at least four women over the course of the show: Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, his Star-Crossed Lover, who marries another man, dies suddenly, comes back, then disappears again leaving him standing all alone in the middle of a field and that's literally the last that's seen of him in the series. Anastasia Dualla, who he sniped away from the show's Dogged Nice Guy Billy Keikeya. She married him, divorced him, then killed herself. Gianne, his ex-fiance, who he ran out on when she was pregnant with his child no less. Shevon, a prostitute he frequents for all of one episode and Replacement Goldfish for Gianne, who pushes him away because, well, she's a prostitute.
  • In The Brittas Empire, Gordon Brittas ultimately loses Laura, who he had considerable sexual tension with, to her estranged husband, Michael T. Farrell III.
  • Buffyverse:
  • In the BBC version of Casanova, the titular character tragically did not get the girl. The Hollywood version cheapens the story with a tacked-on happy ending.
  • Dawson's Creek ends with Joey choosing Pacey over Dawson.
  • Degrassi has JT's Abhorrent Admirer Liberty have a crush him for a long time. When they do finally get together, they end up breaking up and he died before they could get back together (shortly after revealing to his best friend he was still in love with her, and this happened on her birthday).
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor occasionally does this, although mostly in the Revival. He didn't get together with Rose due to a combination of Cannot Spit It Out and her getting stuck in an alternate universe. Even if he does succeed in romance, it's probably not going to last, because of his near-immortality.
    • They do get a somewhat happy ending at the end of Series 4. Due to a complicated series of events wherein the Doctor undergoes a partial regeneration which he aborts by channelling into his spare hand, the hand later grows into a Half-Human clone of the Doctor after absorbing some of Donna's DNA. The Doctor decides to leave his doppelganger with Rose in the alternate universe, knowing that he can grow old with her and give her a life that he never could.
    • Back in the Classic Who days, Sarah Jane was something of an Implied Love Interest for the Fourth Doctor. Despite plenty of UST, nothing happened whatsoever and he eventually abandoned her several hundred miles away from where she was actually from and never spoke about her again. In a Tenth Doctor episode, the Doctor finally confirms that his Fourth incarnation had been in love with her, but he'd chosen not to pursue his feelings because of the Mayfly–December Romance factor and because he's bad at handling goodbyes. He then finally tells her with his new face, "I Love You, Sarah Jane", before leaving her again. Even more of a Tear Jerker after the Real Life passing of Elisabeth Sladen from cancer in 2011.
    • Flux starts with Dan and Diane's budding romance which gets sidelined by the series' big Story Arc. In the end, she rejects his offer for another date after all she's been through.
  • November and Paul, Alpha and Echo, Topher and Bennett, and Echo and Paul, all from Dollhouse.
  • iCarly: Carly Shay doesn't get the guy at the end of "iOMG", a season finale cliffhanger. By the end of the real finale, Sam doesn't end up with Freddie either, but Carly does get the guy right before she leaves.
  • Played for laughs with Simon Cooper in The Inbetweeners. He spends the course of the entire show trying to win her over, usually blowing it in hilarious ways. He does get to kiss her in the final episode of series 2, but she goes back to her boyfriend.
  • Kamen Rider Double hinted in early episodes that Shotaro would eventually get together with Akiko, only for her to end up with Terui instead.
  • Maddigan's Quest made it clear from the beginning that this would be how the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Garland and Timon, since whether they won or lost, Timon would have to return to the future.
  • Lancelot from Merlin (2008). In this version, Arthur/Guinevere is not a political marriage, but a real love connection. Also Merlin and Freya. Guinevere doesn't get the guy, with Arthur dying at the end.
  • In the Japanese drama Naka nai to Kimeta Hi, the protagonist loses her love interest when a rival successfully seduces him and ends up marrying him. It is then suggested that she may end up with a senior at work who has sympathy for her and supports her in her career - but that doesn't happen either.
  • Night Court - though Harry and Christine gave it an honest shot.
  • Brian Kinney at the end of the US version of Queer as Folk. Despite having declared his love for Justin and even proposing marriage, which was what Justin wanted even though it went against everything playboy Brian believed in, the couple split up so that Justin could pursue an art career in NYC. Word of God says this was not a breakup.
  • Allan-a-Dale from Robin Hood was given two possible love interests and lost them both to other characters. And then they killed him off.
  • Schitt's Creek: In Season 6, Ted is offered a permanent position in the Galapagos Islands and Alexis's PR career starts to take off, eventually prompting a move to New York. After a heartfelt and heartbreaking talk, they realize that, despite loving each other deeply, their lives are taking them in different directions and they break up.
  • Happens several times in Skins:
    • Tony and Michelle end up going their separate ways because of different universities.
    • Generation 1 ends inconclusively whether Sid reunited with Cassie in the US. "Skins Pure" reveals that they did not get together again.
    • Franky ultimately rejects both Levan brothers, which isn't so bad given how unlikable she became in the sixth series.
  • Smallville - It should be extremely obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of Superman lore that Clark and Lana do not end up together.
  • Super Sentai has a few examples:
    • Hikari Sentai Maskman: Takeru does not end up with Iyal because she is now the queen of Tube and is forbidden to have a relationship with a human. The hint being Iyal saying to Takeru to "Never look back" was a sign that she meant "Forget about me, you still have your friends waiting for you."
    • Mirai Sentai Timeranger: Tatsuya and Yuuri cannot be together because she has to go back to the year 3000. Domon has to go too, meaning that he cannot be with Honami - this is played for Tear Jerker effect when he returns for Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger showed that Sosuke and Miu had feelings for each other, but ultimately nothing comes of it and they return to their respective lives.
    • GekiRed, HurricaneRed and GoseiRed all have movie-only love interests that don't re-appear for the TV series, thus they do not get the girl.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: Yayoi was shown to have a huge crush on Daigo from her introduction, and was determined to win him over. Despite the mild Ship Tease between Yayoi and Daigo that followed, including weathering the visit of pop star Mikoto, who Daigo was shown to be very close to and protective of, it was Amy who ended up with Daigo, a romance that was suddenly dropped on viewers' heads during the last three episodes. Yayoi, who declared early on that she would not lose to Amy, seemed to just suddenly quit pursuing Daigo and was apparently okay with letting Daigo and Amy be together.
  • Early on in Victorious, the show seemed to be setting up a relationship between Tori and Beck. When Beck broke up with his girlfriend, Jade, there were several Ship Teasing moments between him and Tori. However, he eventually gets back together with Jade by the end of the series. It should be noted that the show ended unexpectedly, and many plot lines were ended prematurely.
  • Jack in Wild Boys. Despite sharing a smoldering look in the finale, Mary ends up staying with Mick, and Jack rides off with Dan.
  • The Wonder Years ends with a closing epilogue revealing that, after six seasons, Kevin and Winnie part ways and he ends up marrying someone else.

    Music 
  • Amon Amarth's Concept Album Jomsviking has the male protagonist kill an earl's servant to protect his love from Droit du Seigneur and have to flee town. He ends up a warrior with the Jomsvikings and, in the song "A Dream that Cannot Be", returns to get his Old Flame (whose part is sung by Doro) and bring her into his new life. She tells him to piss off and then pulls a knife on him when he tries to force the issue.
  • "7 & 7," by the Turnpike Troubadours, has the narrator pondering a failed relationship, and wondering what might have happened if he hadn't been "the boy who your mama warned you about."
    That old scene is always coming to me
    I see you standing with your husband and your child
    And you're a picture of strength and grace and beauty
    And me, I'm just a fool in a supermarket aisle
    Well I know "hello" would surely end up awkward
    I never had the knack for talking anyway
    And you're not the kind for bending over backward
    So I smiled and turned my shopping cart around and walked away

    Theater 
  • On a more comical note, Patience is subtitled Bunthorne's Bride. Guess who is the only male character in the play to end up without a bride...
  • The Student Prince: In a huge Tear Jerker moment, just as the titular prince is about to defy his father and marry the commoner he's fallen in love with... he learns his father is dying. He agrees to marry for diplomatic reasons, and takes up the crown, but goes to see his true love once more before he does.
  • A Did Not Get The Guy example: Kathy in Vanities. She apparently never finds another.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano, Christian and De Guiche love Roxane. No one of them will get her. Roxane won’t get any guy too, because she's been Loving a Shadow. Even Raguenau is abandoned by his wife, Lisa. Nobody gets anyone.
  • Peter Ustinov's play The Love of the Four Colonels is set in Germany shortly after World War 2, where the four titular officers — one from each occupying power — come across Sleeping Beauty's castle and fall in love with her. Due to the machinations of the good and evil fairy, none of them gets the princess — the British and the Soviet colonel return to their wives (even though e. g. the Russian one has in the meantime given birth to another man's child), while the American and the Frenchman have themselves put to sleep so that in another 100 years they'll have another go at wooing her, even though they just know that the fairies will ensure that neither of them is successful.
  • Jonathan Larson's semi-autobiographical play, tick, tick... BOOM!, has the protagonist choose between pursuing his dream of being a famous composer and settling down with his girlfriend Susan and a steady job. The stakes rise when Susan tells him she is moving away and wants him to come with her. In the end, he chooses to stay and pursue his dream, and they decide to be Just Friends, and for his birthday she gives him sheets of blank paper with which to write to her.
  • In Street Scene, Sam is crushed when Rose leaves him in the end, having decided that, after what happened with her parents, she can't let their lives be tied together.
  • In The Playboy of the Western World, Pegeen Mike rejects Christy Mahon in the end. It's not a downer ending for him, though; he gets so much else that he's got a good chance of getting over the rejection — whereas she regrets her decision deeply as soon as it's too late to take it back.
  • The Misanthrope: Alceste refuses Célimène's offer of marriage because he's finally sure that she doesn't love him (or at least doesn't love him any more than she loves any man who pays attention to her).

    Video Games 
  • Alundra: The title character's Distaff Counterpart, who is subtly teased as being a potential love interest from the moment she appears at the game's midpoint, walks the earth with him for a while in the ending, and then leaves him to his own devices. Cock tease. At least she gave him a kiss before parting ways, maybe to soften the blow that regardless if they separate, they're still going to be friends and maybe their paths will cross again. Who knows. Alundra's face showed no disappointment anyway.
  • In Bahamut Lagoon, Byuu does not end up with Princess Yoyo. She ends up falling for Palpaleos, the enemy general who keeps her kidnapped.
  • A possible outcome in the ending of Catherine. It leads to a satisfying ending for Vincent because it presents a personal liberation for him, and he can either win a huge amount of money and start a new life elsewhere or at least have a good laugh at the expense of Boss.
  • Played with in the Bittersweet Ending of Deadly Premonition. York does, but Zach (the player character) does not.
  • Discworld Noir: Lewton doesn't get either of his love interests. Ilsa leaves Ankh-Morpork with her husband, and Lewton has Carlotta arrested by the City Watch for her involvement in the murders.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins:
      • Most of the origin stories include an extra one-sided-or-not love interest, and in fact, every female Warden can run into one in hers. Needless to say, she won't get to keep him even if she wants to, a fact which is sometimes presented rather painfully.
      • Any male Warden who romanced Morrigan has this occur prior to end-game. The entire plot of "Witch Hunt" has the Warden attempting to track down Morrigan and their child.
    • Dragon Age II reveals this to be the fate of a Warden who romanced Leliana or Zevran, as the Warden seems to have vanished. It's revealed the Warden embarked on a quest to save their order from their premature destruction and that happens in literally every other romance option... Except for Zevran who is accompanying the Warden.
    • Dragon Age II has this occur repeatedly. Notable examples are if Hawke slept with Isabela but later romanced another character, several lines of dialogue hint that Isabela still has lingering feelings and regret over the relationship ending. It's also implied that Anders falls in love with Hawke even if Hawke doesn't romance him (dialogue he has in a playthrough where he is romanced basically confirms this). If a female Hawke romances Sebastian, but sides with the Mages and refuses to kill Anders, he breaks up with Hawke and leaves to raise an army to wage war on Kirkwall.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: This can happen to certain love interests under specific circumstances: if they romance Cassandra, their relationship can potentially end if she is chosen as the Divine; with Cullen if he is encouraged to take lyrium, ending with him becoming an Addled Addict; with Iron Bull if he upholds the Qun which will result in him betraying the team in the Trespasser DLC; with Blackwall if he is not rescued from prison after The Reveal of his true identity; or with Sera if your character is an elf and refuses to abandon her religious beliefs. The one instance that will happen regardless of what you choose is Solas who breaks up with the Inquisitor, and she is unable to romance anyone else since they can't move on from it.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X: At the very end, Yuna doesn't get the guy; he never existed in the first place, technically. Can be averted in the best ending of X-2, where the Fayth use the last of their power to incarnate Tidus for real.
    • Zig-Zagged in Final Fantasy Adventure - the player would think that once they beat the Final Boss and restore peace to the land, the boy and the girl would get together... except the mana tree vanishes, so the girl has to become the Barrier Maiden to the world. Secret of Mana however, implies that somehow he did, as the mana tree is the main character's mother, and his Disappeared Dad was the last Gemma knight: the PC in Final Fantasy Adventure.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
    • This happens with two of Priscilla's potential love interests, as her noble status prevents her from being able to continue a relationship with both Guy, a poor swordsman, and Heath, a Wyvern Knight deserter. Sain is another potential partner, but his duties to his kingdom prevent him from leaving for her and their support chat ends with them coming to this realization. Erk, her fourth option, is the only one that actually can stay with Priscilla due to him having friends in high places.
    • Harken and Vaida must part ways due to their dedication to their respective lords.
    • Marquess Araphen lost his fiancee when she chose instead to elope with a Sacaean nomad. Which led to Marquess Araphen's Fantastic Racism.
  • Ike and Elincia in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, despite a decent amount of Ship Tease between them. By the sequel, the chemistry between them is nonexistent and Elincia's feelings have shifted towards Geoffrey (and possibly his sister Lucia). This is mostly the result of the English dub adding hints toward the pairing when the original Japanese portrayed them as strictly platonic, but being forced to back off when the sequel had a different Official Couple.
  • Full Throttle has the woman-not-getting-man version when Mo takes over Corley Motors, thus losing access to the free-roaming lifestyle that would have kept her together with Ben.
  • Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel has both Revan and the Jedi Exile vanish into the Unknown Regions to seek out the old Sith Empire to finish the fight, leaving behind a love interest (and all their allies, for that matter) in both cases. It's later revealed in Revan that Revan did get the girl; he and Bastila were married between the two games, and she was pregnant with his son when he vanished (on a trip that was supposed to only be temporary).
  • The Last of Us Part 2: Ellie has a chance to settle down and make a happy life for herself with her true love Dina and her son, after their brutal campaign of revenge against Joel's murderers has concluded. However, Joel's brother Tommy shows up and guilt trips Ellie about how she let the one most responsible, Abby, live and accuses her of breaking the promise to kill her. Ellie eventually decides to finish the job. Dina, who is tired of the senseless violence gives Ellie an ultimatum, life with her or revenge against Abby. Ellie chose revenge and loses Dina for good, which the ending makes clear when she returns to an empty farmhouse where they were staying.
  • Lyrica: Du Mu really has bad luck in his romance. First, he falls in love with a beautiful dancer named Zhang Haohao, but her employer took her as a concubine before he could make any moves on her. Then he meets Shiue and falls for her, but of course he can't be with her since she doesn't exist in his timeline. He manages to encounter a girl who looks almost exactly like Shiue and wants to marry her, but she's too young for that. After forming an agreement with the girl's family to marry her within ten years, he fails to return at the allotted time (thus voiding the agreement), and the girl marries someone else.
  • One of two endings to Metal Gear Solid shows Snake and Meryl riding off together into the sunset. In the sequel, she's nowhere to be found. The book written by Nastasha makes it canon that she survived, but the only reference to her in the game proper is some optional dialogue where Snake says he's had enough of tomboys. Cue the fourth game where Snake's an old man and Meryl gets married to the very guard she knocked out at the beginning of the first game. (See Cartwright Curse.) In addition, it seems like this in Raiden's case but it's later subverted when it's revealed it was a cover story he wasn't in on. This is justified for Snake's case, however. Being a clone, Solid Snake is sterile, and he carries a modified virus created by Naomi, which randomly kills people injected with nanomachines. In short, he is essentially a walking FOXDIE and is too dangerous to have a relationship with anyone. See also Ellen Madnar and Holly White from the first two games.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark reveals that the Hero of Neverwinter was good, male, and completed the romance subquest with Aribeth. Then Aribeth was executed for treason with the Hero protesting every step of the process and the Hero leaves the city, estranged from its lords and his friends. The fan-made module The Bastard of Kosigan has the hero's former love interest die an unavoidable death at the hands of French assassins, even if you attempt to renew your relationship with her.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2. Both possible Love Interests die in the collapsing fortress at the end, unless you drove Elanee off.
  • Persona:
    • While the ending of Persona 2: Innocent Sin is an example of that other trope, Eternal Punishment plays this straight as Tatsuya ends up returning to the Other Side, and if Maya ever gets involved with This Side's Tatsuya there'd be a risk of screwing over the world again, so seeing him or his brother isn't really an option either. The ending movie has Maya accepting this and walking by Tatsuya without saying anything. In fact, this is built into the title of the games; this is Tatsuya's "Eternal Punishment" for the "Innocent Sin" that he committed during the first game.
    • The Protagonists do not get the girls/guys in Persona 3. A Heroic Sacrifice to become the Barrier Maiden for the world can do that.
  • The Prince of Persia (2008): Epilogue ends on this note. After an entire game's worth of semi-witty Will They or Won't They? sexual tension, Elika finally has enough and literally runs off on the Prince because he freed the God of Darkness who they spent the entire time trying to seal away, on the misguided notion that he could bring Elika back to life and use her to defeat it once and for all. Only, she didn't think she could, and didn't want to even try. Nice Job Breaking It, Dumbass.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: Mary Linton loves Arthur Morgan dearly but doesn't want to be with him while he's still riding with a gang. He promises once he gets enough money he will run away with her. Though she still loves him, she breaks things off with him for good via a "Dear John" letter once word reaches her of the gang's botched robbery at Saint Denis. Tragically, Arthur is in the final stages of tuberculosis by the time he receives the letter, and before he can patch things up with her, he either gets killed by Micah Bell (low honor) or succumbs to the disease (high honor). She is seen in the credits crying at his grave.
  • Shadow Hearts does this a few times. The Canonical ending of the first ends with Alice dying, meaning Yuri did not get the girl after all. However, Yuri's next apparent love interest, Karin, Was sent into the past, meaning she did not get the guy....instead becoming his mother. But, the Stable Time Loop allows Yuri to earn his happy ending after all.
  • Soul Series: According to the Soulcalibur V profile for Leixia (daughter of Xianghua), her father is not Kilik, her love interest for the previous four games.
  • At the end of Super Mario Odyssey, Mario tries to propose to Princess Peach, but Bowser butts in and they get caught up in a squabble over her and end up just shoving flowers in her face. Annoyed by their immaturity, Peach shoots them down and preserves the status quo.
  • In Tales of Xillia:
    • Jude did not get Milla because she had to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
    • Despite their history together, Alvin did not get to be with Presa. Same with Rowen and Nachtigal's sister, whom he was engaged to. She was presumed dead during an accident, but can be found later alive and healthy, but suffering from Amnesia, with no memories of Rowen, and she is Happily Married.
  • Tales of Xillia 2:
    • A case can be made for Ludger and Alternate Milla, with heavy implications that Milla had feelings for Ludger. Likely a case of Foregone Conclusion, as being part of a fractured dimension means she was never supposed to be in the prime dimension to begin with. And she ultimately has to die, in order for the prime dimension's Milla to return and brings things back in order.
    • Just as with the previous game, Jude and Milla still cannot remain together, as Milla can only remain in the Human Realm for a limited time now. Same can be said for Gaius and Muzét or Ludger and Muzét, with the former admitting in his diary that he has a crush on her, though how severe this case is debatable; Muzét is the only Great Spirit who can freely walk between the Spirit and Human Realm.
  • Tron 2.0: While it's clear Jet and Mercury were attracted to one another, he has to return to analog, and she has to stay in the digital world. Poor guy got his Honorary Uncle's luck.
  • Towards the end of Wolfenstein: The New Order, B.J. Blazkowicz realizes that as long as the Nazis still remain, he can not get Anya, and instead allows her to Take Up My Sword for the war to come, knowing that he'll likely die in the battle against Deathshead. Which he does, unless the sound of an approaching helicopter means that No One Gets Left Behind. Averted in the sequel, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, where BJ gets rescued, Anya is pregnant, and against all odds, lives to the end of the game and proposes to Anya in the ending.
  • Yakuza 0: Goro Majima is sent to assassinate someone named Makoto Makimura, which turns out to be more complicated than it seems when Makoto turns out to be an innocent blind girl whom everyone wants dead or in their possession for reasons neither of them knows. Majima decides to protect Makoto and starts to become attracted to her, but when she's injured near the climax he realizes life around a gangster like him would not end well for her, so he leaves quietly and instructs the doctor who saved Makoto's life to look after her. When they reunite eighteen years later in Kiwami 2, Makoto is Happily Married with a son, and Majima stays quiet during their massage session so she won't recognize who he is (though he slips her a personal gift to tip her off so she could get some closure with the man who saved her life).
  • Adol in the Ys series, almost every time. Of course, apart from Feena in I/II, it was more like the various girls Did Not Get The Guy.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Akane and Aoi flee Building Q before Junpei can catch up to them. He spends the rest of his days trying to find Akane. The sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, really hammers it in by showing Junpei as an old man, now going by Tenmyoji, still trying. Though he does succeed in this game, Akane is so far removed from what he remembers that he gives up on her. As for the third game, Zero Time Dilemma, which takes place between the first two... Thanks to time travel, the trope is finally averted and Junpei and Akane get together in the Golden Ending.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Fate route: In the most tear-jerking way, Shirou has to part with Saber and life moves on. However, in Realta Nua's bonus ending of Fate they meet again.
    • Two of the bad endings in Heaven's Feel result from the heroine of the route, Sakura, being killed while Shirou is still alive and well. If Shirou kills Sakura, Shirou destroys his remaining humanity to pursue Kiritsugu's dream; if Rin kills Sakura, Shirou is driven to despair due to previously surrendering his dream to protect Sakura.
  • In Get Dumped, no matter what you do, Michi will be unable to convince Arashi to stay with her and the true ending has her realize that she was Loving a Shadow.
  • Can happen in Melody if the player steers clear of the romantic paths of all the girls.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • At the end of Volume 3, Jaune and Pyrrha become an Official Couple, and then about 15 minutes later, Pyrrha dies fighting Cinder.
    • Later on, in Volume 5, part of the reason why Ilia embraced villainy was out of jealousy towards Blake's relationship with Adam. Although Ilia pulls a Heel–Face Turn and fixes her friendship with Blake, even helping her stop Adam's attack on Haven, Blake leaves for Atlas in Volume 6. Ilia, at least, is thankful for being given a second chance.

    Webcomics 
  • In Katamari (a comic based on Katamari Damacy) had a story arc revolving around the Prince of Cosmos helping a man try to regain his girlfriend by rolling up a katamari of all the things she likes as a show of affection. However, when presented with it, she shows she's flattered by the gesture but lets him down gently that she isn't interested in pursuing the relationship.
  • Despite the effort Shigeo puts trying to become someone his longtime childhood crush might be interested in over the course of the series, Mob Psycho 100 ends with Tsubomi politely but soundly turning him down. Six months later, he's over it and probably happier than he's been in ages anyway, since all the Character Development he had on the way makes it so much easier for him to stop withdrawing into himself and actually connect with people.
  • The Phoenix Requiem ended with Jonas and Anya splitting over his need to become the Grim Reaper. Though the ending left it ambiguous as to whether it would stay that way for good.

    Web Original 
  • Freddie Wong in the action short "Gun Size Matters," leading to a hilarious live-action version of Ocular Gushers.
  • The Kindness of Devils: This is one of Hardestadt Delac's personal problems throughout the series. He's immortal, and all the women he's dated have either been killed during his various conquests or simply died of old age. Loves Lost And Found shows more than half a dozen of Delac's wives or lovers that he's had over the course of centuries, and all of them (except Erin and Eliza) all died off-screen at some point.
  • Gender-inverted in Neko Sugar Girls. Raku's Love Confession to Hitoshi-san fails because he is dating Kidnapper-kun. Raku then dies due to her heart breaking.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • While Tex does not die at the end of the series, neither is Church able to keep her in his life.
    • Agent York of Project Freelancer had feelings for Agent Carolina. Too bad he thought she was killed by the Meta and he was killed before she was revealed to still be alive.

    Western Animation 
  • 6Teen: Jude with Starr when the latter decided to go goth.
  • The last episode of Adventure Time not only doesn't have Finn hook up with anyone, but Simon loses Betty who sacrifices herself. Subverted in the post-finale comics: the Season 11 comic implies that Finn and Huntress Wizard are still dating while Marcy and Simon ends with Simon and Betty being reunited thanks to Hunson.
  • Steve from American Dad! is a poster boy for this trope as the episodes where he tries to get the girl always ends like this because Status Quo Is God. His longest relationship is with Debbie who dumped him in "Bar Mitzvah Hustle" (twice). When he dates Akiko (Toshi's sister), she disappears without mention in the next episodes and Steve has gone back to being single.
  • Batman Beyond: Throughout the DC Animated Universe, Bruce Wayne has had many love interests: Catwoman/Selina Kyle, Zatanna (one-sided only, Bruce always considered them Just Friends), Talia Al-Ghul, Andrea Beaumont, Wonder Woman, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl... He doesn't end up with any of them and remains a single, old man.
    Bruce Wayne: When I was young, women used to throw themselves at my feet all the time.
    Terry McGinnis: What did you do?
    Bruce Wayne: Step over them.
    Terry McGinnis: Smooth.
    Bruce Wayne: I thought so.
  • A gender-reversed version happens in Family Guy with Meg twice with both Joe's son and the nudist boy. She does get Neil but then drives him away when he proves annoying.
  • In Gargoyles, the young trio vie for the affections of Angela until it gets irritating that she demands they stop, roaring "The winner does not get to keep me!" Ultimately, she falls for Broadway, leaving Brooklyn heartbroken while Lexington is occupied elsewhere.
  • The last episode of Gravity Falls doesn't show Dipper hooking up with anybody. There were already episodes devoted to the Ship Sinking of him with Wendy and Candy.
  • The Legend of Korra: Mako messes up both his relationships with Korra and Asami by the end of book 2. So much so that by the end of the Grand Finale, he's the only one without a girlfriend of the main group. His brother Bolin ends up with Opal. Even Korra and Asami have girlfriends: each other.
  • At the end of Regular Show, Mordecai doesn't end with either Margaret or Cloudy Jay, partly due to the former focusing on her career and the latter breaking things off when she thinks Mordecai might still have a feeling for Margaret (ironically when he was trying to confess his feelings for her during Muscle Man's wedding). Partly due to the whole being unwillingly blasted off into space for several years to save the universe. Once they return to Earth, he decides to focus on his own career as an artist and meets a bat woman during one of his art exhibits. The finale seeing that he ultimately married her and had many children.
  • Samurai Jack: Jack and Ashi fall in love, but him killing her father Aku in the past causes her to fade from existence.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Shaggy and Velma have hooked up prior to the series' beginning, but he breaks it off with her when he thinks it means it'll jeopardize his and Scooby's friendship. She remains quite bitter about this for a while. This also happened with Ricky Owens and Cassidy Williams (a.k.a. Mr. E and Angel Dynamite), but in the Grand Finale's new timeline, they are Happily Married.
  • Peter in The Spectacular Spider-Man, due to premature cancellation. The season two finale ends with Gwen remaining with Harry out of pity.
  • Spider-Man (1981): The last episode "Under the Wizard's Spell", Spidey gets close with Inhuman Medusa and the two share a kiss at the end. She has to return home, leaving Peter heartbroken.
  • Lampshaded in Spider-Man: The Animated Series at the end of the episode that introduced Kraven, where Peter complains to himself that it's supposed to be the hero (him) that gets the girl, not the reformed villain (Kraven).
  • Beast Boy and Cyborg in Teen Titans. With Beast Boy: first Terra had a Face–Heel Turn; then a Heel–Face Turn that resulted in her being turned to stone; then she may or may not have been brought back to life, but either way Beast Boy lets her go. With Cyborg: he and Sarasim do kiss, but he's transported back into the future soon after since they do come from different times. He knows that she survived the battle, though. In the Teen Titans Go! tie-in comics, however, Cyborg does gain a girlfriend in Sarah, a caretaker for a group of handicapped kids, both of which are first seen in the episode "The Sum of His Parts."
  • Played for Drama in ThunderCats (2011) for Rebel Prince and royal heir Lion-O.
    • He develops a crush on Cheetara, a woman he discovers is a member of his Church Militant Praetorian Guard, he realizes his Lancer brother Tygra, also has feelings for her. As they set off on a shared journey, the two develop a passive-aggressive, increasingly toxic Sibling Triangle rivalry for her affections to which she remains largely oblivious, with both brothers interpreting the attention she pays Lion-O as romantic interest. After they come to blows over her, Cheetara takes Tygra aside and apologizes for failing to confess her feelings. She and Tygra share a childhood history, and she's carried a torch ever since he did her a favor that helped her join the Clericy. They kiss just as Lion-O walks into view, confident he's avoided a prophecy foretelling Tygra's betrayal.
    • He attempts to move on when he meets Pumyra. Though their relationship is rocky at best, as she originally blames Lion-O for the fall of Thundera, he's able to help bring out her good side. As time progresses, the two become close. However, it's revealed she faked her budding relationship and is working for Mumm-Ra to kill Lion-O, her vengeance being more important. He's heartbroken afterwards.
    • Word of God says had the show continued, he would have found love with an aged-up Wilykit.
  • Total Drama:
    • Cody loses Gwen to another guy twice. It's possible he Hooks Up Afterwards with Sierra, though at the end of season three he insists they remain Just Friends.
    • Dave in Pahkitew. Especially after finding out that the "girl" (Sky) already has a boyfriend, upon which his Sanity Slippage gets even worse than it already was.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Did Not Get The Boy, Did Not Get The Guy

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Kevin Says No

Gloria finally gives all the courage to confess her feelings for Kevin, but he politely turns her down because he's not looking for anything at the moment.

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